MUNCIE — Muncie Symphony Orchestra’s search for a new executive director is over.
The MSO board approved hiring Muncie resident Alena McKenzie at the Oct. 28 board meeting, board President Bob Darroca said.
Currently working part time at MSO, McKenzie will begin her new position full time on Jan. 1. McKenzie replaces Elissa McDonald, who left MSO in September. Her first order of business will be to make sure plans for the current season happen without a hitch.
After that, however, McKenzie won’t change things until she gets the pulse of the community. Through surveys of the Ball State University community, season ticket holders and community members at-large, McKenzie wants to know what people want from MSO. She’s not just talking about MSO performances either, but educational programs, venues and outreach programs. McKenzie is still working on the logistics of how to get the surveys done.
“Once I see where the gaps are, I will see where we can fill the gaps in,” McKenzie said. “My challenge right now is trying to figure out the best way to reach the most people.”
Her forethought is indicative of why McKenzie bumped past the competition. In addition, she had experience working for nonprofits and has strengths in organization and funding, Darroca said.
“She already had a plan in her head as far as how she was going to proceed ahead,” Darroca said. “Even before she even knew she had the job she had already researched the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and what we needed. She was extremely organized even from the get-go. She had put in a lot of work prior to our even hiring her.”
McKenzie is insight research office coordinator at the Center for Media Design at Ball State and has a master’s degree in executive development from Ba ll State. She studied music as a child and her mother was a piano teacher. She is MSO’s 11th executive director since it was founded in 1949.
“I felt like music was always a big part of my life,” McKenzie said. “I thought that my administrative skills could help organize a little bit better, the functioning of the organization and have a different perspective. I thought I would give it a shot and see what happens.”
Contact features writer Oseye T. Boyd at 213-5830
The Star Press